One of the UK’s leading specialists in debt recovery, Bristow & Sutor, has continued to donate boxes of PPE to regional communities throughout the coronavirus pandemic. In total the business has donated 48 boxes to 27 different companies, with local authority beneficiaries including Plymouth City Council, York City Council and Peterborough City Council.
The decision was made to make PPE donations after Bristow & Sutor equipped their own staff last year and recognised the positive impact this equipment had on enabling important conversations to continue, even under lockdown restrictions. Every Bristow & Sutor enforcement agent, formerly known as bailiffs, now possess equipment such as masks, hand sanitisers, antibacterial wipes, disinfectant sprays and gloves as standard. All members of staff have been trained on the use of PPE and must pass an industry approved course before being allowed to conduct visits. They are not permitted to enter properties currently, so any resolution found is done so in a socially distanced manner from the doorstep.
Darren Stoneman, Civil Enforcement Manager, Plymouth City Council said, “As a parking service we are an integral part of the community and during the pandemic have reallocated our resources to support our community. The donated PPE from Bristow & Sutor was used by our Civil Enforcement officers whilst supporting the delivery of a safe new COVID-19 Vaccine centre in Plymouth, as well as staff who are volunteering in their own time as hub wardens, supporting the most vulnerable so they may access this vital service. We are truly grateful for the support and we send our thanks.”
Paul Sanderson, Revenues & Benefits Manager, City of York Council said, “I was delighted to receive this gesture as it will contribute to the safety of our local community.” Clair George, Peterborough City Council, said, “The Prevention and Enforcement Service would like to thank Bristow & Sutor for their kind donation. This PPE has been distributed to voluntary and community groups who are supporting residents across Peterborough during this pandemic.”
It is not just local authorities who have directly benefitted from these donations however, with multiple debt advice sector organisations, such as regional Citizens Advice Bureau offices, receiving boxes of PPE from Bristow & Sutor as well. Kelly Danks, Debt Service Manager, Citizens Advice Birmingham, said, “We were delighted to receive this donation as it will allow us to speak face to face with more local people about their circumstances. This is important for vulnerable members of the Birmingham community, especially when you consider more people may be facing vulnerable circumstances currently.”
Bristow & Sutor has a long history of supporting people in conjunction with both the debt advice sector and Local Authorities. The company trains its staff to spot signs of vulnerability and immediately refers people to specialist welfare and safeguarding teams when these needs are identified. The business also recently held virtual training sessions to staff from Coventry Citizens’ Advice & Coventry Independent Advice Service, sharing insight into some of the social responsibility and customer welfare initiatives the business currently engages in.
EAs are directly employed at Bristow & Sutor and are not paid based on the performance of one visit, their goal remains to help find the best solution and not focus purely on achieving immediate revenue. The company has developed and enhanced its services significantly in recent times, including the introduction of webchat for debtors, increasing outbound calls, implementing text reminders for cases in payment arrangements, implementing more payment methods and prioritising the most successful contact methods.
Emma Watson, Head of External Communications at Bristow & Sutor, says, “We understand better than anyone the importance of communicating with those in debt and the positive outcomes those conversations can lead to. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact communities in 2021, we wanted to do something to help. Recipients of our PPE boxes have all been very grateful and we are looking into the possibility of making even more donations in future.”
Bristow & Sutor has over 42 years’ experience in the collection of local council tax, non-domestic rates and unpaid Penalty Charge Notices. The company prides itself on delivering an ethical, compliant and high-quality service to the public and private sectors. The company also recently obtained NQA COVID Secure Verification accreditation, an independent review that provides assurance measures in place successfully mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 per government guidelines.